The following is a guest post by Brittany Jensen, executive director of the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District. Enjoy!
This past week, I was excited to unveil and present about the RCD Project Tracker at the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts’ 72nd Annual Conference. Over 250 conservation practitioners, scientists, landowners, legislators and others convened in Sacramento to learn, explore opportunities, and build alliances, and strengthen existing partnerships.
Working with the 18 RCDs who volunteered to pilot the RCD Project Tracker online database, I showed our collective work of building a tool to increase the relevance, excellence, and visibility of the work RCDs do on the ground. Prior to the rollout of this online platform, our state RCDs lacked an online database for centralized project tracking and reporting. The inability to demonstrate our collective achievements was a critical organizational weakness for RCDs, and it was one that we rolled up our sleeves to change.
In 2017, we hired Sitka to build the RCD Project Tracker leveraging the open source license for the award-winning Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Project Tracker provided by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. We believed this tool would allow RCDs to cooperatively communicate the conservation benefits of our work to partners, funders, and the communities we serve. We also wanted to improve our program transparency via online storytelling and citizen outreach.
After a month of development work by the team at Sitka, the RCD Project Tracker was open for business on July 1, 2017. During these past four and half months, we’ve been pleased with the resulting benefits:
- We’re able to track expenditures and accomplishments by individual project and funding source.
- Reporting on project tracking and performance analysis is simple and quick.
- Finally, by leveraging an open source solution we can grow as other users of this technology continue to make improvements.
As we look toward 2018, we are encouraged by the interest from the other California RCDs about joining the RCD Project Tracker community. The theme of the last week’s conference Dynamic Partnerships, Relevant Results resonated with me and all the work we’ve accomplished as a community in 2017. If you’re an RCD who is interested in using this tool, please let me know.
Executive Director, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District